Kids health: sarcoidosis

Sarcoidosis is a condition in which small lumps, called nodules or granulomas, form in the organs. It is most common in the lungs, eyes, skin, and lymph nodes, but any organ can be affected. Sarcoidosis is not cancer.

What causes it?

Doctors believe that sarcoidosis is caused by an autoimmune reaction – when that the immune system begins to attack the body. It may also be genetic.

Is it serious?

In nearly eight out of ten people, sarcoidosis requires no treatment at all, just regular observation, and it goes away on its own. Some people will have the condition for their entire lives. Only about 20% of kids with sarcoidosis will require treatment.

Severe cases can lead to lung scarring, eye disease, skin disease, heart problems, liver problems, and infertility. But this is not common.

Can I Prevent it?

Being primarily an autoimmune condition, sarcoidosis cannot be prevented.

How do I know if my child has sarcoidosis?

Symptoms of sarcoidosis may include:

  • Breathlessness with exertion
  • Fatigue
  • Cough or chest discomfort
  • Dry mouth
  • Sore eyes
  • Kidney stones
  • Skin rashes
  • Sharp pains in the sides of the chest

How is it treated?

Most cases do not require any treatment. The lumps simply go away on their own. The 20% of children who do require treatment may receive corticosteroid drugs which help dissolve the granulomas. The length of treatment varies by the individual because there is no set time it takes for the nodules to dissolve. In children who do not receive treatment, the lumps may take several years to disappear.

Should I call the doctor?

If your child displays the symptoms of sarcoidosis, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor. She can run tests to diagnose the condition and discuss treatment options.

What you need to know:

  • Sarcoidosis is characterised by small lumps in the organs.
  • It is NOT cancer.
  • Sarcoidosis is thought to be an autoimmune disorder.
  • Most cases require no treatment.

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